Saturday, August 31, 2013

Birthday Giveaway Winners + an Art Shop Sale!

Thank you all so much for participating in my giveaway this week.  It had a huge turnout, and you blessed me.  Thank you.

I also enjoyed reading your answers to my blog prompt question.  I asked, "What question has been pressing on your heart lately?"  Your replies felt truly profound to me -- thank you for being so vulnerable.  Here are some favorite highlights (I've kept then anonymous here, but if you want to see who is speaking such delicious raw truth, visit the comments on the original post):

"Am I really a good Christian? Am I really as nice and kind and thoughtful and understanding and considerate as I think I am, because sometimes, I don't feel those things at all!"

"When will I stop trying to control everything myself and just 'let go and let God?'"

"How do I balance it all?"

 "What is my purpose here while on earth?"

"What are you going to do with what you've been given?"

"Why? How long?"

"Is it the right time to change my career to one that feeds my soul?"

"The question on my heart regards my future security here on earth. I have no trouble with my eternal security, but there are many things happening in my life right now that cause me to question these things."

"What is my next step?"

"How can I live my one life well?"

"So often I assume that I have faith, even if it's as small as a mustard seed, I of course have that much. Then I look around my life at the actions of faith, and wonder if really it's just bravado parading in dress up clothes."

"How does hope for eternity and for the restoration of all things make a difference here and now?"

I don't know about you, but many of these questions resound in my soul.  I have asked these same questions, or similar ones, often of myself, of others, and of God.  It's so easy to feel like we're the only ones struggling through a certain kind of doubt or situation . . . but we are none of us alone.  

Okay, on to the fun stuff -- the winners!  As you may remember, there were three spots in Made up for grabs, as well as three art prints from my shop.  The winner are . . .

Jamie B. -- Made winner
Heather G. -- Made winner
Andrea Marie -- Made winner
Kimberly V. -- art winner
Anne J. -- art winner
Sarrah M. -- art winner

Winners, I've sent you an email, so be sure to watch for it (check your spam folder!).  

Again, thank you so very much for participating.  I am so excited to unveil Made tomorrow -- if you'd like to participate, it's not too late!  You can find details and registration info here

And if you'd like to take home some yummy Epiphany Art Studio goodness of your own, I'm having a sale this weekend.  Enter coupon code LABORDAY10OFF at checkout to receive $10 off any purchase of $30 (US) or more from my art shop (code expires Tuesday, September 3).

Thank you, sweet blog friends!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Birthday Week Made eCourse + Art Giveaway

I always feel a little silly, writing about my birthday every year.  And each year, I resolve to not mention it the next year . . . and then do anyway.  :)

Have you guessed yet?  This week is my birthday!  So to celebrate, I'd like to throw a bit of a party here on the blog.  I'm giving away some fun prizes.  You can win:

one of three (!!!) spots in the Made eCourse, which starts this Sunday (!!!!!!), September 1

one of three (!!!) 4" x 6" Epiphany Art Studio prints (winner's choice) 

You can enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below.  Entries close at midnight on Saturday, August 31, and winners will be announced later that day.  Good luck!  I can't wait to see who wins, and to read your answers to my "leave a comment" question.  Thanks for helping me to celebrate my birthday, and for forgiving my prodigious use of exclamation points.  I'm so glad we're connected.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Made opens in one week.

One week from today.

Oh man.  I am nervous.

And I am excited.

This is going to be epic.  Either epically amazing, or an epic failure.  But huge either way.

At least, huge for my heart.  I had big-ish plans when I began Made, following this idea that felt like it was planted in my brain during a run on the treadmill.  But I never imagined that we'd have a class of over 130 participants. 

Whoa, God.  Whoa.

I am nervous because it's a big group of interesting folks from different walks of life and faith who all are expecting big things from the course and themselves.

And I am excited because it's a big group of interesting folks from different walks of life and faith who all are expecting big things from the course and themselves.

I guess my feelings on the matter come down to this --

I hope.

That's it.

And that's everything.

I hope.

Yes.  No matter what, I won't stop.

Want to be a part of Made?  It's not too late . . . learn all about it here.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

{New In the Shop} A Bit of Art

This post is going to make it look like I've had oodles of time to get all paint-ified and make lots of art lately . . . but that's not the case.  Instead, I've been working hard to carve out tiny pockets of time to get ready for the imminent (!!!) start of Made.  Things are falling into place.  I am so excited for the ecourse to begin!

But in spite of the Made-induced time crunch, tonight I had some extra time and wanted to [finally] share some mixed media art pieces that I've created over the past few months.  All are available in my Etsy shop as fine art giclee prints -- click on the images to check out each print's details over there.

I must tell you, friends -- each one (although particularly the first and the last) of these pieces feels exquisitely, almost painfully dear to me.  Each one feels like the peeling back of skin to bare bone and soul and sinew.  Each one feels as if I birthed it from my womb instead of with paint.  I don't know what that's about . . . but even thought it hurts and twists in a strange way, I like it.  It feels like depth.

“In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we were asked to endure."

~ Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water

I Am More Than Beautiful


Bunny Girl

Accidentally Alice

A Universe Within Her

* *  

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, August 8, 2013

When God is Holding Me Down (In a Good Way)

I hardly know how to write this.  It's only been a couple of weeks since my last post, but it feels like far longer.

I have been feeling lost this summer.

It started with my husband declaring his atheism, I think, and was compounded by the exhilarating, terrifying, joyful challenge that is leading Made

But there's also more than that at the root of this lost-ness.  I've been hurting, more than I have in a long while.

And it's not just grief, which is what most people guess when I say my heart feels like it's bleeding into my chest.

Or maybe it's all grief, but grief unexpressed.  Tears building up, unshed, moans of sorrow that have been swallowed, because grief is inconvenient and there's just no time to curl up in bed for the afternoon with tissues and my missing her.

I don't know.

All I know is that I hurt, that I feel abjectly broken.  And I've been scared, so scared, because of it.

Because it's not just the grief kind of hurt, which makes sense.  Living with "just grief" is a terrible thing.  But it is also a logical thing, to grieve when you lose someone or something irreplaceable and beautiful and profound.  Grief makes sense.  It's not easy, but it makes sense.

Depression, on the other hand, does not.  An eating disorder does not.

And that's where I've been living this summer.  In depression.  In that claustrophobic mental space where I could feel the claws of disordered eating beginning to hook into my self once again.

And --

Oh, friends.  It's been so very scary.

I don't want to go back to that place.  Not ever.  I'd rather experience Eve's stillbirth again and again and again and again for the rest of my life rather than be thrust back into the hell of mental unhealth. 

And so when I felt the encroachment of my old nemesis, felt its sour-hot breath on my neck -- I ran.  I ran and ran.

Or at least tried to, as much as one can run metaphorically from what is inside your very own head. 

For me, that running translates as -- control control control and pick yourself up by your bootstraps and do more, be more.  Or, in other words, self-flagellation.  In other words, flailing and writhing to get away from the discomfort, like panicked animal throwing itself against the walls of its confines, willing to injure itself in order to escape perceived danger.

Of course that didn't work very well.

On top of my deep sadness and lethargy I began to get angry.  Hadn't God freed me from these very same struggles over two years ago?  Hadn't He snapped the chains of my bondage to disordered eating and hadn't I found myself striding in the most surprising, effortless freedom?  Where was He now?  And for that matter, where was He when my husband was looking for Him and, when he couldn't find Him, walked away?

But then, somewhere in the last handful of days, I started hearing things.  Again and again, sister-friends spoke to me of fruit and pruning.  Of how God prunes those He loves.

Let's be real here -- no one wants to be pruned.  It hurts.  A lot.

And then I realized, like dawn breaking after the disconsolately dark night -- pruning hurts a lot.  

I have been hurting a lot.  

And suddenly my depression looked a whole lot different.

It looked like a wake up call.  Like God trying to get my attention.  Because (and it's hard to admit this) I listen the best when I'm at my weakest.

I felt like God was seeing all that was happening in and around me, and seeing how I started to run around like a chicken with its head cut off (that visual has never felt more visceral or appropriate), and He held me down.  Not rudely or roughly, and not in a crushing sort of way.  But instead it was like I held the children in the specialty classroom I used to teach in.  A student would lose himself and begin to harm himself or others, and one of us teachers would go to him and wrap her arms gently but firmly around him until his breathing slowed and he stopped trying to slam his head against the desk or hurl books and desks and sharpened pencils or make himself bleed. 

I feel them now, God's arms pinning down my own so I won't make myself bleed.  Because I would.  Oh, I would, trying to fix all that is wrong in my world.

He's holding me now, and while my breath still shudders, my pulse is slowing and my teeth begin to unclench and I can look around and look around to see what He's doing here in the uncertain places.  The places where I want to have total control; the places where it is impossible for me to have total control.

I'm giving up.

But with Him . . . to give everything is to gain everything.  Everything that matters. 

I am letting Him hold me down, and somehow I feel freer down here in the dirt with God than I ever, ever have.

the latest in the #iamtaj traveling #artjournal project. so fun! #travelingartjournaltajstyle #mixedmedia #art #wip
a page-in-progress for the #iamTAJ traveling art journal project